Meet Sara Grenard, the main character and narrator of Diane Burton’s Mission to New Earth.
How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?
My name is Sara Grenard. I’m commander of the mission to Serenity. That’s the name my team gave to the Goldilocks planet that might be just right for humans. We’ll explore, build a settlement, and start families.
None. A few distant cousins, I guess. I have no sibs, and my parents were killed in an auto accident 10 years ago. That made it easier to leave everything behind to go on a one-way trip to a new planet. Although I have no blood family, my team is my family. The six of us have bonded better than relatives.
Are you athletic?
You bet. I can’t sit still. That’s why teaching wasn’t my best choice of occupations.
Why didn’t you continue teaching?
A student who was much bigger attacked me. My principal didn’t support me, so I filed a police report. That didn’t go over well. I figured it was a losing battle. When I saw that the United Earth Space Agency was looking for volunteers to go on a one-way trip to new planets, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. To be a pioneer.
What’s your favorite participation sport?
Surfing and swimming. Running and taekwondo. The latter I learned so I could defend myself. No one will ever attack me again and get away with it.
What do you like most about being an astronaut?
The challenge. Our training has been demanding. Mentally, physically, emotionally. We’re going to make sure humankind has a safe place if an evacuation is necessary. From all the crises on Earth, that may be necessary sooner than we think.
Would you go on a one-way trip to explore a new planet? Would you do it to save humankind?
Earth’s overpopulation and dwindling resources force the United Earth Space Agency to expedite exploration of new planets for a possible new home. When new crises ensue—a giant tsunami and the threat of nuclear winter—the timeline changes. Eight years of training crammed into four. Sara Grenard and her team prepare for launch, but are they ready for the one-way trip? Will the Goldilocks planet prove just right for Earth’s inhabitants? Before time runs out.
From the pictures sent back by the probe of the Earth-like planet we named Serenity, our new home would look as natural as Earth itself. I wanted so badly to believe the reports that the surface would have breathable air, that we would be able to walk outside without our enviro suits, that we could live there as we lived on Earth. After two years in an enclosed environment, I was going a little stir-crazy. More than a little. Being an outdoor girl, cabin fever had hit me a lot sooner than the others. Rather, I used to be an outdoor girl.
So how did a California beach girl like me end up on Saturn’s moon, preparing to make history? It was a long story, best reserved for a starlit night in front of a campfire overlooking the dark waters of the sea, and accompanied by a cool glass of wine. With Marsh, of course. Even he didn’t know my whole story. Just like I didn’t know his.
The short version: I volunteered. Slightly longer version: my parents died in a car accident; teaching bratty kids sucked, especially when a kid eight inches taller and a hundred pounds heavier attacked me, and the principal didn’t support me. Believe me, I was ready for a change.
And what a change.
I never imagined I’d be selected. Not when over fifty thousand applied within ten hours. Or so I heard. Out of five hundred thousand applicants, the eighteen of us became the chosen teams. Oh, not as easy as that. The tests they put us through—physical, psychological, intellectual—still boggled my mind.
And I used to think teaching high school kids with more money than smarts was a challenge. Nothing prepared me for the adventure of a lifetime.
Being a pioneer.
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
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